SelectOne Blog

The War For Talent is On


There is a huge disparity in the supply of qualified candidates for skilled jobs. With the US economy improving and the seemingly ever-widening skills gap, the onus on employers to be strategic in their approach to wooing talented young professionals is only beginning.

Currently, 77% of small to mid-sized businesses focus their recruiting efforts on the young professionals' talent pool. The competition is fierce and in order to catch any young professionals eye, you must make opportunities and companies more appealing to young, desirable, skilled workers.

To ensure optimum marketability and appeal, use the following tips to guide your next steps:

  • Having super-cool, hipster-chic office furniture and facilities is not the only thing that matters.
  • Culture really boils down to whether people are engaged and pulling in the same direction every day. Sure, cool offices help, and that can add to the appeal of a company, but what really matters is how employees are valued, the transparency and effectiveness of internal communication, and real opportunity for top performers to move their careers forward.
  • Impromptu happy hours, group activities that stimulate creativity and collaboration, and opportunities to volunteer and support the community all foster a sense of team connectedness.


  • When adding staff to your team, it’s really important to pitch candidates on the positive attributes of the company, job, team, and culture.
  • Far too often, companies rely on their brand awareness in a marketplace to be the implicit sales pitch to candidates. A better approach is to wow candidates during the interview process.
  • Spending time to sell interviewees on why the company and opportunity is great will increase the likelihood of having the right candidate say yes to an offer when the rubber hits the road. 


  • More and more we are hearing a consistent message from young professionals, among passive, desirable, skilled candidates - they want to connect to the mission and purpose of the company.
  • In many cases, this becomes a critical factor for people deciding whether or not to make a change. Clearly articulated vision and mission statements, and conveying how the role directly contributes to their advancement helps to drive a purpose. If a prospective candidate connects to that purpose, it will greatly boost the chances of landing them.
  • It doesn’t matter whether a firm makes chocolate chip cookie dough, provides legal advice, lends money, or finds people – figure out a compelling reason for being and clearly communicate how the pursued candidates advance that mission.


  • A good way to sniff out if a candidate will be a good fit is to establish expectations and communicate company norms during the interview process. Is there overtime? Are there certain behaviors deemed intolerable? Travel? Don’t be afraid to clearly state the expectations, but do it in a way that highlights the upside.
    • For the right person, overtime is the chance for them to take on more responsibility; for the wrong person, it’s professional hell.
    • Employees that like to skate the system won’t like hearing hot-button issues could get them canned; better to squash that at the outset.
    • For a person with significant familial responsibilities, travel could be seen as an overwhelming challenge and even a deal breaker; but for the right person, travel can be an exciting opportunity to see the country or world on the company's dime.
    • Communicating this stuff will help drive alignment before the person even walks through the doors on their first day. 

In the war for talent, the details matter. Tapping into the local young professionals network and making sure they are a good fit for the team is challenging. Figuring out ways to drive great culture, pitch candidates, articulate purpose, and communicate expectations will help stock your pipeline with the best possible talent.

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